All eyes are on Washington, D.C., where politicians on both sides of the aisle are desperately trying to make a deal on the budget. Since it's Washington, D.C., it's not likely to happen very fast.
President Obama heads to Capitol Hill this week to meet with Republicans as Congressman Paul Ryan introduces a budget that would require Obamacare to be fully repealed. Washington insiders, like Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) say Washington's dysfunction is deep.
This morning on "Starting Point," Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) talks with Soledad and the "Starting Point" team about the ongoing dysfunction in Washington D.C., and what Republicans hope to do to encourage reigning in of spending.
Transcript available after the jump.
By: CNN's Jim Acosta and Ashley Killough
(CNN) - There's one thing many Democratic and Republican members of Congress have in common: They're rich.
The 113th Congress, which convened the first week of January, has slightly more wealth than members of Congress the previous year, according to new research from the Center for Responsive Politics.
The median estimated net worth of all members of the current Congress was $966,000 in 2011, the latest year of financial disclosure data available, compared to a median net worth for members of the 112th Congress of $886,000 in 2010.
This morning on "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien," Soledad asks Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA) about the Congressional Accountability Pay Act, which if passed would lower Congress's salaries if government spending increases.
"We've got to fundamentally change how we do business in Washington, how we think and how we act," Rep. Forbes says. "The fundamental problem we have is this out-of-control spending. So, what we have to do is either the President has to take control of it and so far his budgets haven't done, or either we have to have a balanced budget amendment which is very difficult because we need two-thirds votes and the states have to ratify, and we just don't have time, time will run out on us."
"Or we look at legislators and say, you need to have some skin in the game. If you can't control spending and it goes up by 10 percent your salary goes down by 10 percent," Rep. Forbes adds.
Soledad asks Rep. Forbes about a "Forbes" magazine piece, that claims the Congressman's net worth was just under $3 million in 2010. She asks if the dock in pay would really put a dent in any one representative's wealth. Rep. Forbes responded, saying the "Forbes" estimation of his weath was inaccurate.
READ MORE: Members of Congress are getting wealthier
For the first time in a week, President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner spoke about the fiscal cliff over the phone, but there’s no word of progress made or future talks planned with only twenty-six days to go before the fiscal cliff.
Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-OH), who is a member of the Appropriations Committee, believes that there’s a growing sense in the Republican party that “the President has won this round relative to the rates” but they still need to sit down and work out the spending part of the deal, which he feels can be reached if the President moves forward with entitlement reform.
LaTourette comments that the Republicans’ walk out yesterday, heading home because there are no votes between now and the weekend, is not as significant as it appears. “We’re not doing anything to get this done because there’s nothing we can do,” he says. “This is going to be a negotiation between the President of the United States and House Speaker John Boehner.”
House Speaker John Boehner and President Obama finally breaking silence by speaking on the phone yesterday, but with twenty-six days left before we tumble over the fiscal cliff, there’s still no sign of progress, and we could be facing massive tax hikes and spending cuts at the start of the new year.
This morning on “Starting Point”, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), member of the Budget Committee, supports the president’s plan, saying that it is consistent with his campaign promises to extend tax cuts for the middle class, but not for the wealthiest Americans. He adds that the Republicans’ “unspecified proposal” is an “unacceptable” response to the president’s plan.
Merkley believes Republicans are playing a “game of chicken” with the fiscal cliff: “It’s not acceptable that this game of chicken continue… There need to be very specific negotiations. If they need to keep them private and contained for awhile to get into the details, so be it, but action is required.”
Phila. Mayor Michael Nutter & Tea Party Express's Amy Kremer debate spending plans from Mitt Romney and President Obama.
The Congressional Budget Office predicts that if Congress doesn’t vote to stop the automatic tax increases and spending cuts that start on January 1, 2013, the United States could topple off a “fiscal cliff” and back into a recession.
Despite these warnings, Congress can't seem to agree on how to address the problem.
On Starting Point today, Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform and author of "Debacle," explains how he thinks that Congress can prevent the economy from falling back into a recession, reiterating his refusal to increase taxes.
Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX), member of the House Oversight Committee, on the investigation into GSA conference spending.